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Schiit Modi Multibit - No Love?

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#1
For a few hundred bucks I decided to try out the Schiit Modi Multibit. I guess it's based on the new Modi, they don't really mention that one way or the other. Folks, including our host, seem to like that $99 DAC, and this one is a ladder dac for $250. Anyway, this is a great sounding little DAC that costs less than even cheap name brand interconnects. I did a search by title in the DAC forum. Not one thread on this thing.

I offered it up for testing, but @amirm already has one. I doubt it will test good. But I'm looking forward to the results. I don't care if it's schiit. It's a fun little thing with better sound (distortion???) than you have any right to expect for the price.
 

Darwin

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#2
I used to see a lot of laudatory comments and articles on it but nothing for awhile.
 

derp1n

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#5
IIRC the Modi Multibit is a stripped down version of the Bifrost Multibit, which Amir already tested. It wasn't pretty.
A version with current firmware (silent revision where they added dither, LOL) would measure a fair bit better. Not as well as similarly priced D/S products, but at least approaching the lower end of "good enough".
 

Noob

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#9
I think it is worth keeping in mind that resistor ladder DACs are valued not for how accurately they measure but for how pleasantly they distort. They are basically the DAC version of a tube amp. The value of a tube is not in how close it can sound to a solid state but how pleasantly it can twist the sound to the listener's preference.

For this reason, I am of the opinion that measurements are actually quite useless in judging these types of products that are engineered toward subjective tonal and timbral preference instead of objective performance.
 

derp1n

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#10
I think it is worth keeping in mind that resistor ladder DACs are valued not for how accurately they measure but for how pleasantly they distort. They are basically the DAC version of a tube amp.
Not universally true. That is just one of the many ways "multibit magic" sound is explained, there are plenty of others. None of them confirmed by measurements.

Can you point to any manufacturer of multibit DACs that claim they are deliberately inducing distortion to achieve a particular sound?
 

amirm

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#11
For this reason, I am of the opinion that measurements are actually quite useless in judging these types of products that are engineered toward subjective tonal and timbral preference instead of objective performance.
What if we have two implementation of identical multi-bit DAC chip. One has much lower distortion than the other. You rather not know and buy blind?
 

amirm

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#13
Don't forget you need to wait 3 weeks until it starts to perform up to spec ;)
Gosh. I forgot that. You know I am out of shape now when it comes to reviewing Schiit products. :D
 

mcgo

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#14
I have one of the flawed ones, purchased January 2018. I was actually thinking of making one of those Internet videos where you take an electric drill to the top of it while it is powered on and dill a hole straight thru, while listening to it squeal.

Every now and then one of the channels sounds like its underwater and when that's not happening the detail is missing. All likely due to firmware problems, which may or may not be fixed now. Anyways, the underwater garbling issue has plagued these units since launch. New firmware was hinted at by the usual suspects and silently slipped into production, probably because of the 10-bit issues Amir found in the Bifrost.
 

Noob

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#15
What if we have two implementation of identical multi-bit DAC chip. One has much lower distortion than the other. You rather not know and buy blind?
Maybe others are different, but if I was in the market for multibit, measurements would be the furthest thing from my mind. I find it difficult to imagine a real world situation where subjective opinion would not be the sole deciding factor on the product's worth. If I were buying a regular delta sigma DAC, then I would definitely want it to measure as perfectly as possible. The priorities would be completely different for me. I would not even be in the market for a multibit product if I cared about how it measured.

Perhaps others think differently about these things, but that is just me. As for the scenario you mentioned, I would probably want the one with more distortion, since that would be the whole purpose in purchasing the dac. To me, buying multi-bit is just buying a particular flavour of distortion, and unless one is expecially skilled at reading visual charts and graphs, there is little way to interpret the 'pleasantness' of a particular type of distortion other than to listen to it.
 

amirm

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#16
Maybe others are different, but if I was in the market for multibit, measurements would be the furthest thing from my mind. I find it difficult to imagine a real world situation where subjective opinion would not be the sole deciding factor on the product's worth. If I were buying a regular delta sigma DAC, then I would definitely want it to measure as perfectly as possible. The priorities would be completely different for me. I would not even be in the market for a multibit product if I cared about how it measured.
I am trying to get you to change your mind. :) Just as we see delta-sigma DAC implementations screwed up, you can do the same in multi-bit.

The fact that you have a multi-bit DAC architecture, you should not get a free pass to screw up the implementation through bad signal processing, output stage saturation, jitter, etc. None of these aberrations are part of the multi-bit offer.

This is all beside the point that manufacturers imply that multi-bit is the most accurate representation of incoming signal.
 

Noob

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#17
Not universally true. That is just one of the many ways "multibit magic" sound is explained, there are plenty of others. None of them confirmed by measurements.

Can you point to any manufacturer of multibit DACs that claim they are deliberately inducing distortion to achieve a particular sound?
I really don't think the science of how subjectively beautiful a sound is is anywhere close to being advanced enough for a company to be very deliberate and precise. I think it's more of a try a bunch of stuff till it sounds nice type of thing. I think the makers of ladder dacs have inherently different design philosophies. But I have never designed a multibit DAC, or interviewed someone who has about their design philosophy, so I am really just making assumptions here.

I do know that the guys at Schiit have been very vocal about not designing the modi multibit around it's measurements. They claim they already did that with the regular modi. They prefer the modi multibit because it sounds better to them. As for how precise they were in crafting the details of their multi-bit sound, I do not know.
 

amirm

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#18
I do know that the guys at Schiit have been very vocal about not designing the modi multibit around it's measurements.
Then prepared to be surprised when I post my review. ;)
 

Noob

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#19
I am trying to get you to change your mind. :) Just as we see delta-sigma DAC implementations screwed up, you can do the same in multi-bit.

The fact that you have a multi-bit DAC architecture, you should not get a free pass to screw up the implementation through bad signal processing, output stage saturation, jitter, etc. None of these aberrations are part of the multi-bit offer.

This is all beside the point that manufacturers imply that multi-bit is the most accurate representation of incoming signal.
I have not yet heard the argument that multi-bit is the most accurate representation of incomming signal. If there is someone saying that, I would disagree with them.

I do think SOME measurements still are valuabe here. Signal to noise ratio being chief among them. A low noise floor is always a good thing. Reducing jitter would also be beneficial. As for harmonic distortion, I think that is a key element of multi-bit voodoo. What other types of distortion contribute to the unique sound I cannot say, but I imagine there are several.
 

amirm

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#20
I have not yet heard the argument that multi-bit is the most accurate representation of incomming signal.
They say that in just about every breath. Here is Schiit on modi multibit:

1543639072293.png


Exact level implies 100% fidelity to audio samples. There is no talk of screwing them up to make them sound better.
 
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